Is BMI a reliable health predictor?

BMI, which stands for Body Mass Index, is, in simple terms, a health calculator that determines whether you are physically fit or not based on calculations. There are tons of online BMI calculators available to check your BMI score. But is it the best way to check whether you are physically fit or not? Let’s find out.

BMI has become the most popular health calculating tool that does some calculations and lets you know whether you are physically fit, underweight, overweight or obese. There are multiple apps and online websites that offer to calculate your BMI for free. But did you know it is not a reliable health predictor for individuals? It is one of the biggest misconceptions that people as individuals can figure out whether they are fit or not with just one calculator. This calculator was developed to establish the health of a group of people and not for individuals, as the inventor itself suggested.

Why do doctors use BMI calculators?

A BMI calculator asks for your weight and height, and then it will determine whether your body type is underweight, fit, overweight or obese. Even doctors use this method because it helps them understand the risks of diabetes, thyroid and heart conditions. But it is not the best way to determine whether the person is physically fit. BMI calculators and BMI scores will help your doctor figure out whether you are at risk of significant health issues/ conditions or not. That is why doctors use this tool. But to be sure, it is recommended to get yourself tested by a professional rather than just checking it out yourself online.

Why is it not the most reliable health predictor for individuals?

While BMI may be a quick, affordable and readily available way to check your physical health, the formula is best suited for gaining information about the general population, according to Stanford. The specific location of fat in your body is one of the most important factors when considering overall health. BMI does not include that particular factor in its calculation.

Upper body fat, fat around the midsection, and visceral fat, also known as the fat stored within the abdominal cavity and around several vital organs, including the stomach, intestine and liver, are more likely to cause health issues like cardiovascular disease. If the body fat is stored in the lower part of the body, then it will cause less severe health conditions than the fat in the upper body.

How is BMI calculated?

BMI is an estimation of your body fat by dividing your weight in kg by your height in meters squared. Thus, BMI= kg/m2. The results that you get are based on this calculation. It will determine whether you are underweight, normal, overweight or obese.

  • As per BMI calculations, you will be considered:
  • Underweight if the final calculation is less than 18.5
  • Regular if the final calculation is from 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight if the final calculation is from 25 to 29.9
  • Obese if the final calculation is above 30

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